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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Symbolism in the short story "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe

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The short story “ The Cask of Amontillado,” by Edgar Allen Poe, contains various symbolisms in it. I will discuss the tight-fitting dress and conical cap (14), the silk mask and roquelaure (15) and Montressor’s family coat of arms (16); furthermore, the symbolism of the cask of wine. I will try to show how I interpret these symbolisms as I see them.


Poe uses Fortunato’s clothing as a symbol “he had on a tight-fitting party-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells,”(14) a court jesters outfit to symbolize that Montressor is to make a clown out of Fortunato and humiliate him to death, and allow him to think about his actions as he dies a long, slow death.


The symbolism of “ a mask of black silk, and drawing a roquelaure,”(15) which Montressor puts on before going down (Hell) into the catacombs, represents the Grimreaper or death. They represent and tell us what Montressor has planned. His “getting even” is evil and means certain death to Fortunato.


The coat of arms of Montressor’s family is what I think is the best example of symbolism in this story. Montressor’s description of it is “A huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.”(16) In this the foot being Montressor and the serpent is Fortunato. Montressor feels his family name has been wronged, and that Fortunato had wronged him and his family, or we are led to believe this. He says, “I must not only punish, but punish with impunity.”(1) He must right the wrong done to his family, like the coat of arms the foot had the fangs in it. Therefore, Montressor will suffer from this in that he does not get the satisfaction of Fortunato’s departing this life thinking of all the wrong he had done Montressor. He dies before from a hart attack.


Write your Symbolism in the short story "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe research paper


The cask of wine is another form of symbolism in “The cask of Amontillado.” During the carnival season, the narrator, Montressor goes up to Fortunato and tells him of cask of wine he has bought that could pass for Amontillado. He implies that because he was not available, he had a man named Luchresi taste it. Fortunato does not think this man has the ability to “tell Amontillado from sherry,”(14) Fortunato, in his attempt to show off his wine-tasting abilities and boost his pride, insists that they enter Montressor’s catacombs. The cask symbolizes that if it is too good to be true, it usually is. Don’t let your stubborn pride get you buried alive.


The danger of pride is addressed in “the Cask of Amontillado” a short story by Edger Allen Poe. In this story, Poe uses symbolism to convey his message in a creative and original way. He reminds us that pride can lead us to do unthinkable things that we would never otherwise consider doing such as the taking of a life in order to get revenge on someone who has hurt our pride. Our pride can also cause us to be na├»ve and blind to things around us, leading us to dangerous situations and, in the most extreme cases, leading us to our own deaths.








Work Cited Page


Poe, Edger Allen. “The Cask of Amontillado.” Introduction to Literature,


1th ed. Ed. Sylvan Barnet et al. New York Longman, 001.





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